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Taiwan school uses dividers during lunch to counter coronavirus


A school in Taiwan’s capital Taipei is going to unusual lengths to protect its students from the coronavirus – putting up bright yellow dividers on their desks during lunch to reduce their risk of infection while eating.

While a growing number of countries have suspended classes until further notice to try and slow the spread of the virus, Taiwan’s schools are operating as normal, albeit with heightened bio-security measures.

Taiwan has won plaudits from experts for the way it has controlled the virus, and has only reported 50 cases, compared with more than 80,000 in its giant neighbor China. However the island is on high alert to ensure the virus is contained.

Students at the Dajia Elementary School are asked to disinfect their shoes and hands before entering the school’s premises, while a security guard takes their temperature.

What sets the school apart, though, is the bright yellow dividers erected on their desks at lunchtime when students take off the surgical masks they have to wear during class in order to eat.

“Schools have to make the most comprehensive preparations,” said school headmaster Li Chung-hui, who first came up with the idea to make dividers from affordable corrugated plastic board. One divider costs less than T$50 ($1.66).

The students don’t seem too fazed about having to eat behind the dividers. “I think that we can prevent bacteria from coming close,” said Tu Yu-chieh, 6.

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